Column: Obesity trends keep growing like pets’ stomachs

Commentary by John Mikesell

There is “a greater percentage of obese pets than ever before” according to a report from the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention.

So, since it’s right after the holidays, and we all might have over indulged ,including our pets, it might be time to due a little weight loss( in my case a lot). I know Karma is well over what her ideal weight should be, because she got way to many treats this holiday season. I am very good at suggesting what customers need to due to take weight of, but very bad at following those suggestions my self. Karma is very good at begging, and I give in way to easily.

Humans aren’t the only ones whose waistlines keep expanding. Approximately 53 percent of cats and 55percent of dogs are overweight or obese, according to the fourth annual National Pet Obesity Awareness Day study. That’s a pretty high number.

“This year’s data suggests that our pets are getting fatter, we’re seeing a greater percentage of obese pets than ever before,” said association founder Dr. Ernie Wood.

Since the group began conducting nationwide veterinary surveys in 2007, it’s seen a study increase in the percentage of pets classified as obese or at least 30 percent above normal body weight. In 2007, roughly 19 percent of cats were found to be obese; by 2010, almost 22 percent were classified obese. For dogs, obesity rates escalated from just over 10 percent in 2007 to 20 percent in 2010, and now close to 25 percent.

“One of the reasons we think the obesity rate for dogs has dramatically increased is due to a better understanding of what an obese dog looks like,” said Ward.” Veterinarians also realize how critical it is to tell a pet owner when their dog is in danger due to its weight.”

To get pets to a healthy weight, pet insurer Petplan of Philadelphia suggests owners follow these tips:

● Start slow. If the dog has gained weight over the winter, exercise in moderation at the beginning of spring to prevent serious injury.

● Be careful when using diet foods for your dog or cat. Not all of them provide good nutrition. All you may need to do is cut back on the treats. Most of them are way to fattening. The next thing to try is just cut back a little on your dog’s regular food. This may be all you need to do.

● There are many excellent low-fat normal protein dog foods in the market place. Just stop in and check with your health food professional.